The ending seemed like something out of a script:
A kicker battling injury, taking the field for the first time in two weeks, fights through pain to kick the winning field goal.
Locust Valley's Nick Petralia made this a reality Thursday afternoon, kicking a 24-yard field goal with 34 seconds left to give the Falcons a 24-21 win over visiting Mineola in Conference IV.
"He's an excellent kicker but we didn't know how he was going to respond to the pain," said Locust Valley coach Matt McFarland, who added that Petralia injured his ankle in a Week 2 win over Friends Academy and had not worn pads since. "He was definitely still hurting, but he battled through the pain and drilled it for us."
Running back John Pedranghelu was outstanding for Locust Valley (4-0), rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and also catching a 7-yard touchdown pass.
After the field goal, Mineola drove to its own 45 before Kevin Wright intercepted a pass at the Locust Valley 45 with 15 seconds left to preserve the win.
The winning drive was set up by Locust Valley middle linebacker Kevin Spence, who tackled Mineola running back Ryan Eccher for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Locust Valley 13 with 6:38 left.
Pedranghelu rushed for 47 yards on the next play, and rushes from Pedranghelu, Sam Torelli, Tom Talenti and quarterback Tyler Liantonio brought the ball to the Mineola 7, setting up the field-goal attempt.
Mineola (3-1) led 21-14 late in the third quarter and had sustained a drive into Locust Valley territory when defensive lineman Allan Williams intercepted a middle screen with 3:34 left in the quarter at the Falcons' 22. The ensuing 78-yard drive was capped by a 44-yard TD run by Pedranghelu on the first play of the fourth quarter.
A 4-yard James Gerstner run put the Mustangs ahead 7-0 with 1:15 left in the first quarter, before two second-quarter Liantonio touchdown passes -- a 7-yarder to Pedranghelu and a 49-yarder to Owen Trepeta -- put Locust Valley ahead.
Gerstner threw a touchdown pass later in the second and ran for a 1-yard score in the third to make it 21-14 Mineola.